As of February 2023, 36 of 54 African countries have independent data protection legislation or regulation in place. In addition, the Malabo Convention of the African Union – a legal framework for addressing cybercrime and data protection in Africa – came into effect on June 8, 2023 following ratification by Mauritania in May.

Businesses operating in the region must comply with local data protection and privacy laws, the Malabo Convention and other cross-border privacy legislation and regulation such as the EU GDPR.

Some Common Privacy Principles

While each law and regulation addressing data protection and privacy rights for individuals has its own nuances, there are common principles organizations can adopt to guide their compliance efforts.

  • Transparency and fairness — Transparent, fair and lawful collection and processing of information for a stated purpose, limited to the data necessary to fulfil that purpose.
  • Data security — Ensuring the security of data and maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of individuals’ data.
  • Data retention — Retaining information only for as long as is necessary and removing it when no longer required.
  • Individuals’ data rights — Providing individuals with rights over their data including the rights to access, to modify (for accuracy) and to request deletion of their data.

Getting Started With Privacy Compliance

Data discovery provides the starting point for organizations seeking to meet their privacy compliance obligations and minimize the risk of a data breach. Businesses need to be able to identify all personal information across their networks, in both on-premises and cloud-based platforms.

This enables them to verify the data and its purpose, ensuring its use aligns with the transparency privacy principle. Then they can apply controls to protect the data in a targeted way.

With advanced discovery and data management solutions such as Ground Labs’ Enterprise Recon, organizations can rapidly build a data inventory of all their personal information. Using its inbuilt remediation and data management capabilities, they can manage high-risk data and cleanse redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data. Automating the discovery scanning process means this can form part of a continuous cycle ensuring data is managed and secure throughout its lifecycle, wherever it is stored.

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